I catch the movement in the bushes out of the corner of my eye. Finishing my last bit of smoked salmon, I look a little closer, seeing the head first, then the eyes of the mighty grizzly.
“Holy shit, Bear!”
Our small group jumps up as our guide rushes toward the bear, waving his arms wildly in the air, yelling at the bear. It doesn’t work, and the bear keeps coming towards us, now no more than ten feet away. We are all jumping into our small skiff, knowing that if the bear attacks, it will be of little protection.
The bear then charges straight forward into the water (not at us) and jumps upon a mighty salmon that none of us saw swimming along the shore. Two young cubs then coming running out of the bushes as well. This gives us enough time to get the skiff further out into the water, and once we are all at a safer distance, we watch incredulously as the bears gorge on their latest catch right before our eyes.
Eyes wide open from that incredible adrenaline rush, we continue touring Lake Clark. The Lake has a shallow section that separates the water into two parts, a perfect place for people to try their hand at fly fishing.
The sun is high as the afternoon creeps in, lighting up the water in a brilliant blue as we glide along. I am amazed at how calm the people fishing are, as bears are literally surrounding them on all sides. Salmon are jumping at the flies at the end of their lines. It’s all so wild and surreal.
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that my time at Lake Clark truly kicked off my Wild Alaska adventure. I was feeling healthier, stronger and more confident since my health issues from a few weeks ago. I was ready to start getting out into the wilderness more and explore.
Sadly, our time at Lake Clark comes to a close. The float plane quietly appears out of the blue sky, and gently lands at our beach to take us back to Soldotna. On the return trip I get the front seat next to the pilot, and we get to talking. He recommends some local hikes in the area, which I am glad for, making mental notes so that I can find them tomorrow.
From the float plane to the beauty of the mountains and glaciers at Lake Clark, the bears in the bush, swimming in the lake and hunting for salmon, this was one day that will forever be etched into my memory.
Even if I have nothing else exciting happen on this trip, it’s all been worth it. But don’t fret, as the trip just kept getting better from here…..